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“Mildura understands, as do many other towns battling climate change, drought, stuff-ups with water and an embattled global economy, that art is not a dispensable item in the survival pack. This town is providing an essential model for the role of art - not only in battling isolated regional centres, but for the whole of the country. When times are tough, the soul needs Art even more - and I’m not talking just about entertainment...I’m talking about the Arts... Why on earth are the arts flourishing in Mildura?”
Robyn Archer, Manning Clarke Lecture, March 2009
Since its inception in late 1994, Arts Mildura has grown steadily from a small weekend festival showcasing music and writing, to an annual suite of five major festivals catering for fine music, performing and visual arts, literature, poetry, contemporary sculpture, performance and installation art and jazz.
Arts Mildura is a leading community driven arts organisation, charged with the development and delivery of a diverse annual program of creative arts through these festival events in the Mildura region:
Murray River International Music Festival
January Classical Music
Beautiful Music in Beautiful Locations. Each year Sergio de Pieri, who was awarded an OAM for his contribution to music, embarks on his annual pilgrimage to Mildura, bringing with him marvellous virtuosi from Italy and other parts of the world. The program provides world-class performances combined with master-classes, workshops and school visits, travelling through Mildura, Ouyen, Wentworth, Balranald, Broken Hill, Swan Hill, Cohuna and Shepparton venues, providing regional food and wine experiences. The artists perform in venues ranging from riverside settings to inland gardens, wineries to regional arts venues.
Mildura Wentworth Arts Festival
March Performing Arts, Music, Dance, Theatre, Comedy, Fashion, Film
One of Australia’s leading regional arts festivals, the MWAF offers a rich and vibrant program of visual and performing arts, workshops, theatre, Big Screen outdoor cinema, music, exhibitions, cabaret, dance, fashion and comedy – all in a diverse range of venues that showcase the unique landscapes, natural beauty and rich heritage of the Murray Darling region.
Mildura Writers Festival
July Poets, Writers and Literary Artists
Beginning in 1994 in Stefano de Pieri’s cellar restaurant, this event has evolved to be acclaimed to be among the finest literary festivals in the country, not only because of its literary pleasures, but also because of the talent it attracts and its atmosphere of conviviality. Building upon the provincial Victorian winter, with late night discussions around wood fires, showcasing regional gourmet food and wine, the festival brings together some of Australia’s best writers in an intimate program of workshops, lectures and discussion forums.
Mildura Palimpsest Biennale
October Visual Site Specific Arts
Inaugurated in 1998, Palimpsest is regional Australia’s premier site-specific visual arts festival. Located in the arid border territories at the junction of the Murray and Darling Rivers, Palimpsest continues the rich experimental tradition established in the early 1970s by the Mildura Sculptural Triennials, bringing contemporary arts practice together with cross-disciplinary dialogue to encourage visionary engagement with the natural and cultural environment of inland Australia.
Mildura Jazz, Food and Wine Festival
November Traditional & Contemporary Live Jazz, Regional Food & Wine
This festival combines traditional jazz and swing with more contemporary and quirky sounds, catering to hardcore jazz enthusiasts and music lovers, not to mention those that just enjoy sitting back listening to the music and soaking in the ambiance. Held in Spring over the Melbourne Cup long weekend, relish in jazz on a Mildura paddle steamer, riverside wineries and parks, churches, on the street or in popular bars and clubs, taking in the gourmet food and locally produced wine.
Wallflower Photomedia Gallery
Year round Exhibitions rotate monthly
Wallflower Photomedia Gallery provides access to a curated selection of work from artists using lens based mediums locally, nationally and internationally. Featuring three spaces that are purposely built for both still and moving imagery the gallery highlights and creates further readings of photography within the unique context of the Mildura region.
“Arts activities in regional communities such as Mildura and surrounds add value to our lifestyle and local economy. The arts are fun, they stimulate ideas and participation, whilst entertaining and challenging us. They throw up delights in an often dull day and can always generate discussion and debate. Enriching our lives with activities that make us healthy, make us laugh, make us think and make us join in surely is a good thing. After all if we don’t make the effort to entertain ourselves, who will? Television? I think not. Join in; it will reward you over and over again.”
Ross Lake, OAM, Chair, Arts Mildura Board of Directors
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